Friday, April 16, 2010

PA Opener...Thoughts...

For reasons to be disclosed later…I’ve elected not to attend the PA opener this year (tomorrow). I’ve done it the last two years with minimal success each year, but I think those outings were more due to factors out of my control…at least that’s what I tell myself now to battle the emotion of not attending…

It brings about a question…why go? What’s the point? It’s ruthless fishing. It’s the bucket brigade chasing after their limits, and stuffing their coolers until every last fish is out of every bridge hole along the main highway…

Its mob scenes on your favorite stretches, and IF you’re lucky to find some bugs popping, their usually not convincing trout to rise. Mepps spinners litter the creek side trees, and every single worm container brought to the stream usually ends up staying for the summer…

Yeah…I can be a bit bitter about it…and a bit discouraged by the lack of decency I see in people, and by the early season fishing…typically you find yourself getting crowded by some horse’s ass who thinks for every one trout you land, he can take 12 more. Turning your back to your honey hole for one minute to take a piss can lead to 3 guys fishing shoulder to shoulder when you return…

But why…why do I feel this pit in my stomach…feeling like I’m missing something this year?

Perhaps it’s all the years spent in Connecticut as a child…waiting anxiously every winter for the day that I could get up with my father to bring in the first fish of the year. The bickering between my brother and I at 4:30 on those mornings was brutal…

“First fish is mine…”

“NO…You got it last year…” Each of us pretending to remember…

Once my brother stopped going, it was Dad and I…early mornings…bringing in stockers…trolling the ledges and stocking locations…just to hold them and then put them back…

In all of those years, I don’t think that my father ever brought in a fish on opening day. It was about us kids…and then me…giving me a life long passion…anticipation…love for the water…

For 16 years, I went every single opening day...with dad…sometimes giving up Easters…family parties…it was like a tradition, and for someone who carries the weight of traditions on, it meant the world…

Coming back to my first opener 3 years ago in PA, I remember the anticipation swelling back up in me…like it was making up for all of the years I had missed openers. It was emotional on several accounts…Me and Finn making our way 5 hours into North Central Pennsylvania…to sleep on the ground. Knowing you were on a river just filled with fish to go along with all of their native relatives…

I guess as I miss another opener, I shouldn’t freak out. It’s sometimes awful fishing…with assholes who crowd you…and with lord knows how much more lead going into our streams, wrappers on the banks, and just complete disrespect at times for the natural world…

I feel a tremendous amount of comfort in knowing that this won’t be my last opener…and there will be others…and I can find more comfort in knowing that my father has given me the ability to be 5 years old on those days for as long as I live…the early mornings…the smell of coffee…the anticipation of the first fish…and the joy of knowing that it’s another beginning…

Good luck to all who carry the spirit of fishing, and hope to pass it along...

1 comment:

Shoreman said...

One would hope that there are places that combat fishing doesn't prevail and you could wet a line without being used and abused on opening day. All you have to do is take one look at the boy and his fish, and you might change your mind. I can still remember way back then too.

Mark